Daily Archives: October 5, 2011


The Berkeley Wire: 10.05.11

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Berkeley introduces parking boots for repeat offenders

Smart boots are being introduced by the BPD to Berkeley on October 18. Photos: Tracey Taylor
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Parking ticket repeat offenders could be in for a rude surprise after October 18, the date the Berkeley Police Department is introducing the “smart boot”, a wheel-clamping device they say will enable a cheaper, more efficient parking enforcement system, and, ultimately, be more customer friendly for the city’s scofflaws.

The immobilizing boots will replace the current habit of impounding cars whose owners have failed to pay five or more parking tickets which are 30 days old, or older. The City decided to adopt the system in February. Berkeley is only the second city in California to introduce smart boots. Oakland introduced them in November 2009, and they are in use in dozens of cities nationally.

The “smart” part comes in because the boot can be removed by the car’s owner, once they have paid a $140 fine, plus the outstanding money due on the tickets. A call to a 24-hour phone hotline, operated by Paylock, and a credit card payment can, said BPD Lt. Diane Delaney at the smart boot media launch, have a motorist on his or her way in five minutes. … Continue reading »

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View from the water: New span of Bay Bridge takes shape

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Short of a stroll on the structure itself, the best way to get up close to the new east span of the Bay Bridge is to take to the water. Berkeleyside recently joined a boat tour organized by the American Institute of Architects to get a unique view of the construction progress to date.

The tour was led by Donald MacDonald, principal at Donald MacDonald Architects, who provided design services for the new bridge, working with New York bridge engineering firm Weidlinger Associates; Jeffrey Heller, principal at architects Heller Manus; and Jordona Jackson of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Seismic Safety Projects. Some information on the project can be found in the captions to the photos shown here. For updated news on the Bay Bridge, including construction cams, visit BayBridgeInfo.org.

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With collapse of Solyndra, is there hope for solar?

PowerLight, a company Tom Dinwoodie founded in 1991, installed these solar panels on the roof of the student union at UC Berkeley.
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In the media frenzy surrounding the bankruptcy of Solyndra, which collapsed despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, one piece of good information has been overlooked: the company’s demise resulted, in part, because of the huge decline in the price of photovoltaic panels.

Solyndra, which had a manufacturing plant in Fremont, couldn’t compete with PV panels made in China. And while that equation was bad for Solyndra, it wasn’t necessarily bad for the solar industry.

Tom Dinwoodie, the founder and chief technology officer for SunPower, one of the nation’s largest solar energy companies, has been trying to get the word out in recent months that “ferocious cost reductions” in solar manufacturing are bringing it closer to parity with the cost of new nuclear, new natural gas, and new coal.

“The public perception about solar is it’s too expensive and it can never scale,” said Dinwoodie, a Berkeley resident. “When we talk about evolving our energy systems, it’s a small-bit player. But solar is going to be a much bigger player much sooner than people realize.”

Dinwoodie will be talking about the facts and myths about solar energy on Thursday Oct. 6 at 7:30 pm. at LiveTalk, an interview series at College Preparatory School in Oakland. Quentin Hardy, a New York Times technology reporter – and Berkeley resident – will interview him on stage. The LiveTalk series is open to the general public. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Sarah Palin — You Betcha!

Director Nick Broomfield tries to get Sarah Palin's attention in You Betcha!
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It would probably have been safe to assume on November 5, 2008 that Sarah Palin’s fifteen minutes were up. Vilified by the lamestream media and bad-mouthed by McCain campaign insiders, there seemed to be nowhere for her to go but back to the Great White North, where she’d quietly serve out the last two years of her gubernatorial term.

The canny pol, however, had no intention of being forgotten by Real Americans throughout the lower 48. Palin loved the limelight more than she loved the legislative process and resigned from office the following July. Since then she’s parlayed her infamy into two plus years of television appearances, patriotic road trips, and book signings. Marshall McLuhan would either be very proud, or extremely ill.

However, the endless campaign to keep the spotlight on Sarah hit a speed bump earlier this year. A hagiographic documentary entitled The Undefeated leaked into a few dozen red state theaters over the summer and subsequently crashed and burned at the box office. It seemed that America’s appetite for Caribou Barbie had finally been sated.

Not so fast! With the release of Nick Broomfield’s new feature, Sarah Palin: You Betcha!, blue staters have an opportunity to bask in the celluloid glow of the woman they love to hate (or at least make fun of). Currently screening at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, the film is a compendium of perfidy guaranteed to soothe the soul of Democrats and fellow travelers disappointed at the performance of their own political savior. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

For the first time since we launched the “Where in Berkeley?” competition well over a year ago, nobody has the faintest idea where this rooster is (not even Ira Serkes). So we’re providing a clue — a photo taken from a distance, as the close-up does, we admit, make identification very difficult. The rooster is perched on top of the small building to the right of the garage.

We await your answers in the Comments.

Update, 10.07.11: Three days after we posted the original photo (immediately above) we finally have a winner — MaybeYou identified the location as being Ashby Place, just off Ashby near College Avenue. Congratulations, MaybeYou, on being this week’s winner. And a special mention to Ira Serkes for keeping us all entertained in his valiant efforts to win. This was so much fun, in fact, we’re thinking the tougher the better for future competitions, so be warned!

Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments.

Photo: Sandy Friedland.

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